Democrat Kelly Skidmore challenges Florida House District 92
A political newcomer challenges a Democratic state representative in a newly redesigned district spanning communities in southwestern Palm Beach County.
State Representative Kelly Skidmore of Boca Raton is seeking to continue her term in the Florida Legislature representing District 92, which covers West Boynton Beach, Delray Beach and Boca Raton, between Aberdeen Golf & Country Club and Boca Winds. His former district, rocked by the redistricting that is being triggered by the 2020 U.S. Census, had reached the county’s western border in the Glades.
Hasan Zahangir of Boynton Beach, a 59-year-old former small business owner before deciding to run, challenges Skidmore in the Democratic primary in August. He has never run for public office before, but was a former president of the Bangladeshi-American Democratic Club.
Voters Guide: The Ultimate Palm Beach County Voters Guide to the 2022 Primary Elections
Amendments: Key Endorsements from the Palm Beach Post Editorial Board in Florida
Elections in Florida: Why mail-in voting in Florida is more complicated, constrained in 2022
Zahangir said he decided to run because he was not a “career politician” and felt that those in office did not deliver on their promises.
“Look at our accommodations. Look at all the things that are happening. I mean, look at our environment. Look at gun control,” he said, adding that someone on the outside can “really do something for the people.”
By contrast, Skidmore noted that his experience should be considered as a whole. She served in the Legislative Assembly for a total of six years, with a 10-year break amid two unsuccessful bids for the State House and the Senate, and most recently was elected to the House seat held by Tina Polsky as she ran for State Senate.
“Experience is really going to count in a divisive legislature. And I think it’s important that the group we’re bringing together in Tallahassee … can get the job done from day one,” she said. has voters at the ends of every party’s margins who want this divide to continue, but for the most part, people really want you to be effective and get things done.”
With the towns of Glades no longer part of the district she would represent if elected, Skidmore assured the communities she would seek them out in Tallahassee, casting doubt on her colleague from the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation, Representative Rick Roth, a farmer, running for the new District 94.
Skidmore said the biggest issues facing the district are those associated with growth, as the area covers the agricultural reservation, and she predicts the biggest fight in the upcoming legislative session will be over abortion rights. Zahangir noted that he was focusing on “table conversations,” such as the cost of insurance and rent, and believes gun control will be the biggest issue next year in Tallahassee.
While the old Skidmore District was physically larger, the new District 92 grew by 23,000 voters. The district is staunchly Democratic, with more than 61,000 registered voters in that party. There are also more than 36,000 Republicans and 39,000 voters with no party affiliation.
The race for District 92 also includes a Republican nominee. Since Dorcas Hernandez, a business owner, is the party’s only candidate, she will appear on the November ballot.
The Palm Beach Post conducted a criminal background check on every candidate, including the incumbents. The Post reports all criminal charges filed and the outcome of cases since January 2012, even when they did not result in a conviction.
Age and residence: 59 years old, lives in Boca Raton
Main campaign priorities: Skidmore has identified five priorities in his re-election bid: health care, the economy, the environment, rising insurance costs and common sense gun safety laws.
Employment history: She has been CEO of the Palm Beach County Medical Society since December 2020 and previously worked in public relations for the Marine Industries Association of South Florida.
Political context: Skidmore served as a state representative between 2006 and 2010 and returned to the Legislative Assembly in 2020. She has served on health care-related committees.
Education: Skidmore holds an associate’s degree in communications from Palm Beach State College.
Criminal history: None.
Amendments: Skidmore has a number of endorsements, including but not limited to: Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried, U.S. Representative Lois Frankel, Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller Joe Abruzzo, Palm Beach County State’s Attorney Dave Aronberg, Palm Beach County Public Advocate Carey Haughwout, Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon, five Palm Beach County Commissioners and 25 of his fellow legislators.
Finance: Skidmore raised more than $81,000 in his reelection bid from 97 sources between January 2021 and June 2022, about 20% of which came from his previous campaign fund. Fifty-five donations of $1,000, the maximum amount authorized per person, swell the representative’s campaign coffers. Some of these largest donations come from Publix, NextEra Energy, Disney, US Sugar, Ruth’s List Florida and HCA North Division.
Age and residence: 59, lives in Boynton Beach
Main campaign priorities: Zahangir lists a wide range of priorities on his website, from education to women’s rights to gun control, but he said his top priorities are “table talks.” These issues include insurance, rent, health insurance, and other cost-of-living concerns.
Employment history: Before focusing on his political campaign, Zahangir was independent and ran several franchises, including Yogurt on Yamato. This is his first time running for public office, but he was the former president of the Bangladeshi American Democratic Club.
Education: Bachelor of Computer Science from Florida Atlantic University.
Criminal history: None
Amendments: Zahangir said he does not believe in the approval of politicians “because they do not represent all voters”, adding: “I have the approval of the Asian community”.
Finance: Zahangir raised nearly $30,000 through 73 donations between September and June, but nearly two-thirds of his total is self-raised.
Hannah Morse covers consumer issues for The Palm Beach Post. Email [email protected], call 561-820-4833 or follow her on Twitter @mannahhorse.